|October 14||Annular Solar Eclipse|
|October 21-22||Orionids Meteor Shower Predicted to Peak|
|October 23||Venus at Greatest Western Elongation|
|October 28||Full Hunter’s Moon and Partial Lunar Eclipse|
The Northern Hemisphere has officially passed the autumnal equinox. The days are getting shorter and colder, but the night sky remains as warm as ever. This month will be a big one for cosmic events, with an exciting annular solar eclipse, meteor showers, and clearer stargazing as temperatures and humidity drop. Aurora activity can also be captured at this time of year, for those lucky enough to be at the right latitudes to see the northern lights. Here are some events worth checking out this month. If you’ve taken any starry sky photos, please tag us and include #PopSkyGazers.
October 14 – Annular Solar Eclipse
You’ve probably heard about it. The moon passes between the Earth and the sun and casts a large shadow over our planet in the process. With the right protective eyewear, it can be a sight to behold—the event produces a “ring of fire” that looks like the moon is outlined in flames.
Astronomers calculate exactly when the best view is where you are, so consult this list when scheduling an outing to safely check the sky. The duration ranges from a little more than a minute to almost five, depending on where you are located in its path. This eclipse will have a 125-mile-wide path of annularity that will begin in Oregon at 12:13 pm Eastern Daylight Time. It will leave the US at about 1:03 pm EDT and head southeast toward Central and South America.
October 21 and 22 – Orionids Meteor Shower Predicted Peak
The annual Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak on October 22 in a moonless sky, but the morning hours of October 21 may also yield a few meteors. According to EarthSky, under a dark moonless sky, the Orionids can produce a maximum of 10 to 20 meteors per hour. On October 22, the moon will set at midnight, which means that its light will not interfere with the rain. The best time to try and see the shower is after midnight into the early morning hours.
October 23 – Venus at Greatest Elongation
In August, the planet Venus moves between the Earth and the sun and rises in the east. Venus will be farthest from sunrise on October 23 and should remain visible in the morning sky until May 2024, when it will become a very bright “morning star.”
During this month’s greatest elongation, Venus will appear higher in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere than from the Southern Hemisphere. This is due to the steep angle of the path of the sun, moon, and planets in the morning during the autumn months.
October 28- Full Hunter’s Moon and Partial Lunar Eclipse
The full Hunter’s Moon reaches peak brightness at 4:24 pm EDT on Saturday, October 28, but you can start looking for it on October 27. The Hunter’s Moon is always the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the name originated as a signal to hunters to prepare for the coming winter to ensure they had enough food. This is also when animals like the stars of Fat Bear Week begin to multiply for a long winter hibernation, and animals can be easily found because the fields are cleared. Other names for the full moon in October include the Falling Leaves Moon or binaakwe giizis of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and the Food Storer Moon or Yutekhway^he in Oneida.
In addition, a partial lunar eclipse is predicted for this same day. Between 3:36 and 4:53 EDT, the moon passes through Earth’s shadow. The eclipse should be visible in any location where the moon is above the horizon at the time, including parts of Asia, Russia, Africa, Oceania, and Europe.
The same skygazing rules that apply to almost all skygazing activities are important this month: Go to a dark place away from the lights of a city or town and let the eyes which will adjust to the darkness in about half an hour.